Friday, April 9, 2010

Just for fun: Thrifty shopping in Charlevoix, Mich.

The thrift shop trade is booming. Not only is it an excellent way to recycle and reuse household items and clothing we no longer use, it benefits communities and helps others in need.

Plus, you can find some cool stuff at great prices. Never before has thrifty been so chic.

During a recent weekend visit to Petoskey, Mich., Chris and I drove over to Charlevoix to visit our favorite thrift store -- the Rainbow Shoppe.

We discovered the shoppe some years ago when it was located in downtown Charlevoix. The building was cramped -- but impressive. It was the nicest thrift shop either of us had ever been in. Merchandise was clean, tastefully displayed, and organized into departments.

A good thing got even better when the Rainbow Shoppe moved to its new home, a former art gallery, on Old U.S. 31 South.

Check out my slide show:

The main level is divided into women's, men's, and children's clothing departments with housewares in between. Pricing is coded by dots All the clothing is sized and segmented.

In the basement is furniture and sporting goods. On this particular day, I found some good deals on a chandelier and some attractive living/dining room furniture.

Upstairs you'll find ladies shoes, coats and purses along with our favorite spot -- the Book Nook.

Initially, the shoppe was a project started by the community's 10 churches. Brian, one of the shoppe's employees, told me that Rainbow is a non-profit organization that has been in business for over 20 years.

"(The shoppe) has a board of directors, we have a few paid employees. Everybody at the counter -- they're all volunteers. People come (into the shoppe), we help them with clothing and furniture if they need it. All the money stays in the Charlevoix County area."

Chris and I have been bringing our castoffs to Rainbow for the last couple of years. It's our way of giving back to the community while we enjoy it.

So, now that you know about northern Michigan's best thrifty spot -- drop in the next time you're "up north."

A couple of on-line reviews about the Rainbow Shoppe from Google Maps:

Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By gregory - Feb 14, 2009

My wife and I have been to resale stores all around the country. The Rainbow Shoppe looks better, smells better, and has better deals(especially the books!) than any of the others.‎

Great for books!‎

Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Grace W. - Sep 28, 2008
I love their new location! They have so much more shape. I personally never find any clothes here, but I always go away with a bag full of books! They have a huge book room and the books are always clean and well put out. ...‎

Rainbow Shoppe is located at 06480 Old U.S. 31 South in Charlevoix, Mich. The shoppe is open throughout the year Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Telephone number is (231)547-2815

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